Americans Say Happy Holidays Vs Merry Christmas
If you visit the United States of America during the December holiday season, you will notice that there are not only Christmas decorations which adorn city streets, homes and stores. In this multi-cultural society, there are many other religions for whom the December period is a significant one. This explains why the holiday good wishes you share with others, especially strangers, are usually expressed as “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”
Besides being sensible and appropriate as other religious or cultural holidays besides Christmas as being celebrated, Americans also understand the term to cover the New Year holiday.
Religious or Cultural Holidays in December
The United States is filled with a diverse range of people, religions, and cultures. Americans choose to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas so it doesn’t leave anyone out.
Two such holidays which are celebrated during the Nov-Dec period are Hanukkah and Kwanza.
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday which lasts a total of eight days and nights. Based on the Hebrew calendar, the starting date varies each year. It usually begins in late November to sometime in December. This holiday is about paying respect and celebrating the dedication to Jerusalem’s Holy Temple. A menorah that holds nine candles is a symbol of Hanukkah.
Kwanza is a celebration which lasts a week to honour the African heritage. This holiday lasts from December 26 to January 1. During this celebration African Americans wear colorful clothing, light candles in a traditional candle holder called akinara, and prepare feasts which are attended by friends and family. Kwanza is a holiday that was created in 1965, in order to integrate those African traditions which celebrated community and renewal with Christmas rituals.
Not Everyone Celebrates Christmas
There are many people who celebrate Christmas even though they are not regular churchgoers – they simply celebrate this day to spread cheer and spend time with loved ones. Some people believe in not celebrating Christmas or in fact any religious holiday at all over this period, so saying Happy Holidays helps to cater for everyone’s personal views.
Happy New Year
With the New Year right around the corner after Christmas is done, saying Happy Holidays helps to keep the festive spirit alive. Many cultures believe that celebrating the New Year ushers in a good year ahead and hope for the future. Popular activities include making New Year’s resolutions, having a New Year’s party, as well as spending time with family.
So, for all these reasons, it is preferable to be on the safe side and greet people you don’t know or you know follow a different belief with Happy Holidays.
Happy Holidays to you!